Who Do You Trust: Single Source of Truth


Ben Kassel LMI holding triangle shaped part leaning on a 3D printer toolWho Do You Trust by Ben Kassel, LMI

How do you go from a product concept sketched on the back of a napkin to drilling down to what makes up the set of authoritative data – what we often refer to as the Single Source of Truth?

This is a recurring theme in our world: an engineer is handed that big old pile of requirements and sketches out a block diagram. It could be an informal discussion at lunch with the boss which leads to a block diagram sketched on a half dozen splotched and watermarked napkins. It could be through a formal requirements management system leading to the most sophisticated sysML diagrams out there. This is the genesis of technical data and it can get a little confusing and complicated quickly. There has been a lot of talk recently about that ubiquitous single source of truth. It turns out there may not be such a thing as a single source of truth. Within minutes of the inception of a new project, derivative data is created and distributed. One person’s derivative may be another person’s authoritative source of truth. How do you know the data can be trusted? How do you know the source and does it really matter? What it really may come down to is the pedigree of the technical data. Our short time together at 3D CIC will focus on the concept of master data, derivative data, referenced data, and how it makes up the set of authoritative data.

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Ben Kassel
Senior Consultant – Mechanical Engineer

Ben Kassel is senior subject matter expert in the definition and exchange of technical data used for naval architecture, marine engineering, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. Following a 37-year government career, Ben joined LMI in 2018 as a technical leader supporting efforts to develop digital thread technologies that enable model-based environments. He participates heavily in digital engineering research and development and is a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Engineering Laboratory. Ben has worked with 3D CAD software as a user, system manager, and applications developer in mechanical engineering and early-stage ship design since 1981, when he joined the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (formerly the David W. Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center). He implemented CAD in several programs for the U.S. Navy and has participated in the National Shipbuilding Research Program at the managerial and technical levels. He also supported the digital transfer of drawings and product models, developed CAD specifications and benchmarks, and served as a technical adviser to government panels evaluating the use of CAD, product model technology, and digital data exchange in the marine industry. While with the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Ben participated in the development of the distributed systems object model for the Leading Edge Architecture for Prototyping Systems (LEAPS), the long-term retention of product model data, and the development of international standards. He also provided product data integration and exchange guidance to the NAVSEA Technical Policy and Standards Group and acted as the NAVSEA technical authority for product data integration and exchange – ships.

But his absolutely favorite thing to do regarding all things related to the Digital Thread Enabled Model-Based Environment is pontificating on the need for domain specific data definition. Shape data is essential, Product Manufacturing Information is key to Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, but you simply cannot achieve Digital Engineering without form, fit, function, and operational characteristics of parts, assemblies, and systems!

3D Collaboration & Interoperability Congress

The 3D Collaboration & Interoperability Congress (3D CIC) focuses on 3D CAD collaboration and interoperability for the entire product lifecycle. The 2019 theme of Trust Digital showcasing organizations that have evolved to trusting digital: tracking their product’s condition digitally at each stage of the product lifecycle. 3D CIC 2019 will be held October 7-11, 2019 at the Buffalo Rose Events Center in Golden, Colorado. Find out more and register at 3dcic.com.

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